Gillum and Nelson holding on to leads in Florida going into Election Day

With one day to go in the race for governor of Florida and the state’s Senate election, polls are showing both Democrats, Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson, running ahead of their opponents. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum leads former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis 50 – 43 percent among likely voters. And incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson is holding off a challenge from Gov. Rick Scott with a 51 – 44 percent likely voter lead. These figures, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday (Nov. 5).

The poll that was conducted by Quinnipiac University and surveyed 1,142 Florida likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. It was conducted from October 29 – November 4.

(A poll is simply a snap shot of what people are thinking when they are contacted. Tomorrow, Election Day, almost anything can happen and has happened during an election — as we have seen in the past in Florida. Lest we forget, all polls had Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump handily in 2016.) 

The latest Quinnipiac poll compares to a 52 – 46 percent Gillum lead in an October 23 survey as well as the 52 – 46 percent likely voter lead for Sen. Nelson on October 22. In the latest snap shot it shows Nelson’s lead growing while Gillum’s race tightening slightly.

Double-digit leads among independent voters and women, plus even bigger leads among black and Hispanic voters give Sen. Nelson his cushion:

  • Nelson leads 54 – 41 percent among independent voters and 91 – 4 percent among Democrats. Republicans back Scott 94 – 4 percent;
  • Women back the Democrat 53- 41 percent. Men are divided with 48 percent for Nelson and 47 percent for Scott;
  • White voters back Scott 55 – 41 percent. Nelson leads 87 – 6 percent among black voters and 59 – 31 percent among Hispanic voters.

While 5 percent of Florida likely voters remain undecided, only 1 percent of those who name a candidate say they might change their mind by tomorrow. 

“Democrats Sen. Bill Nelson and Mayor Andrew Gillum have identical seven-point leads entering the final hours before Election Day in the races to be the next governor and U.S. senator from Florida,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. 

“Sen. Nelson has a 13-point edge among independent voters. Candidates with double- digit leads among independents rarely lose. 

“There is little difference in the two races. Both leaders ran up double-digit leads among women; whites went heavily for the GOP candidates while non-whites went even more so for the Democrats.” 

The voter breakdown in the governor’s race closely matches the U.S. Senate race:

  • Gillum leads 54 – 40 percent among women, as men are split 46 – 46 percent;
  • White voters go to DeSantis 54 – 41 percent as Gillum leads 90 – 3 percent among black voters and 57 – 29 percent among Hispanic voters;
  • Gillum leads 52 – 39 percent among independent voters and 93 – 4 percent among Democrats, as Republicans back DeSantis 93 – 4 percent.

While 6 percent of Florida likely voters remain undecided in this race, only 1 percent of voters who name a candidate say they might change their mind by tomorrow. 

“Mayor Andrew Gillum and his challenger, former Congressman Ron DeSantis, are running exactly the same, 93 – 4 percent among self-identified members of each of their respective parties. But Gillum’s 13-point margin among independents is the difference in the outcome,” Brown said. 

In another poll also released Monday, the Tampa Bay Times takes note of “a new NBC/Marist survey where Gillum leads DeSantis and Nelson leads Scott by identical 50-46 percent margins.

“The poll, conducted Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, questioned 917 registered voters, of which 595 were likely voters. It had a margin of error of 5 percentage points for likely voters.

“Among likely voters, President Donald J. Trump’s numbers were upside down, with 44 percent approving of his job performance and 51 percent disapproving.

“Scott’s numbers in the poll were similar, with 42 percent of likely voters viewing him favorably and 50 percent unfavorably. Nelson was narrowly above water, with 45 percent viewing him favorably and 42 percent unfavorably.

“In the governor’s race, Gillum was viewed favorably by 48 percent and unfavorably by 40 percent, and DeSantis was viewed favorably by 43 percent and unfavorably by 45 percent.

“Twelve percent of likely voters said they had never heard of Gillum or DeSantis and had no impression about either candidate.”